At the end of January my friend and I will have just over two weeks time to spend in the coffee region. We both speak Spanish and have travelled in Latin American countries before.
We're a bit overwhelmed by how many nice fincas, haciendas and cute little posadas and such there are in the coffee region. It seems like I could easily spend over a month there!
Our main interest will be to experience some picturesque villages, Valle de Cocora, as many hot springs / termales as we can manage to take in :-) , and whatever other beautiful nature / nice low-key activities are on offer. (Horseback riding, easy walks, coffee tours, swimming, seeing caves and waterfalls, markets...)
I'd like to avoid staying *in* big cities such as Armenia, Pereira, Manizales (or is one of them really nice?), because we're already spending time in Bogotá and Cartagena and perhaps in Medellin (outside those two weeks). We'd rather stay in a town like Salento, or in a finca just outside a city.
- Which other small towns can you recommend and are easily accessible by public transport?
- What would be a good base to visit various termales and some other points of interest? So that we can spend several nights in a row in one place and do daytrips from there, either by bus or by organised tour?
- Which finca / hacienda can be reached by public transport or a not-too-expensive taxi ride from a city? Budget for accommodation = about US$60 per night, or more if dinner is included.
- How do people go about getting dinner while staying at a remote finca? Do they travel with their own car or use taxis?
- Is Rio Claro worth the detour? Are there only expensive eco resorts there?
- Any other amazing but affordable places to sleep that I'm overlooking? (The huts / rooms *at* the sites of termales seem quite pricey...)
We've looked into renting a car but that's quite a bit over our budget.
Thanks in advance for any help or suggestions!